By EditorDavid from Slashdot's phoning-home department
An anonymous reader quotes Bleeping Computer:
Security researchers have discovered that third-party firmware included with over 2.8 million low-end Android smartphones allows attackers to compromise Over-the-Air (OTA) update operations and execute commands on the target's phone with root privileges.
This is the second issue of its kind that came to light this week after researchers from Kryptowire discovered a similar secret backdoor in the firmware of Chinese firm Shanghai Adups Technology Co. Ltd.. This time around, the problem affected Android firmware created by another Chinese company named Ragentek Group.
It apparently affects more than 55 low-end/burner phones from BLU, Infinix Mobility, DOOGEE, LEAGOO, IKU Mobile, Beeline, and XOLO. According to the article, the binary performing the insecure updates "also includes code to hide its presence from the Android OS, along with two other binaries and their processes... Without SSL protection, this OTA system is an open backdoor for anyone looking to take control of it."
Even worse, three domains were hard-coded into the binaries, two of which were unregistered, according to the researchers. "If an adversary had noticed this, and registered these two domains, they would've instantly had access to perform arbitrary attacks on almost 3,000,000 devices without the need to perform a Man-in-the-Middle attack."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cows-eating-kelp department
Dave Knott writes:
A Canadian farmer has "helped lead to a researcher's discovery of an unlikely weapon in the battle against global warming: a seaweed that nearly eliminates the destructive methane content of cow burps and farts," reports the CBC. "Joe Dorgan began feeding his cattle seaweed from nearby beaches more than a decade ago as a way to cut costs... Then researcher Rob Kinley of Dalhousie University caught wind of it." He tested Dorgan's seaweed mix, discovering that it reduced the methane in the cows' burps and farts by about 20 per cent. "Kinley knew he was on to something, so he did further testing with 30 to 40 other seaweeds. That led him to a red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis he says reduces methane in cows burps and farts to almost nothing."
"Ruminant animals are responsible for roughly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, so it's not a small number," said Kinley, an agricultural research scientist now working at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Queensland, Australia. "We're talking numbers equivalent to hundreds of millions of cars."
The researcher predicts a seaweed-based cow feed could be on the market within three to five years, according to the article. "He says the biggest challenge will be growing enough seaweed."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's XX-chromosomes department
greg65535 writes: In order to reduce its gender imbalance, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in Amsterdam will hold special election rounds, one in 2017 and one in 2018, for which only women can be nominated.
The plan "does not come at men's expense," argues the academy's president, Jose van Dijck, because all the regular election rounds for membership will also still continue as planned. Currently 13% of the academy's 556 members are women, a slightly higher percentage than the 10% at Germany's national science academy and the 6% in the U.K. The plan was proposed by two male board members and approved by a 73% majority, though ironically, the first female president of the U.S. National Academy of Science says "I don't think we would do that. Other people might feel that women elected this way somehow did not meet the same standards as their male counterparts, or even other women elected through the regular process."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's email-address-in-the-dashboard department
The author of the popular cURL utility has been receiving requests for help from frustrated car owners having difficulty with their infotainment systems... [B]ecause his email address is listed on the "about" screen, as required by the cURL license, some desperate users are reaching out to him in the hopes of finding a solution.
It sounds annoying to receive complaints like "why there delay between audio and video when connect throw Bluetooth and how to fix it." But though he rarely answers them, Stenberg writes that "I actually find these emails interesting, sometimes charming and they help me connect to the reality many people experience out there."
In a post titled "I have toyota corola," Stenberg says "I suspect my email address is just about the only address listed. This occasionally makes desperate users who have tried everything to eventually reach out to me. They can't fix their problem but since my email exists in their car, surely I can!"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's infinitely-more-sizes department
The Stack reports on Google's "new research into upscaling low-resolution images using machine learning to 'fill in' the missing details," arguing this is "a questionable stance...continuing to propagate the idea that images contain some kind of abstract 'DNA', and that there might be some reliable photographic equivalent of polymerase chain reaction which could find deeper truth in low-res images than either the money spent on the equipment or the age of the equipment will allow."
An anonymous reader summarizes their report:
Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution (RAISR) uses low and high resolution versions of photos in a standard image set to establish templated paths for upward scaling... This effectively uses historical logic, instead of pixel interpolation, to infer what the image would look like if it had been taken at a higher resolution.
It's notable that neither their initial paper nor the supplementary examples feature human faces. It could be argued that using AI-driven techniques to reconstruct images raises some questions about whether upscaled, machine-driven digital enhancements are a legal risk, compared to the far greater expense of upgrading low-res CCTV networks with the necessary resolution, bandwidth and storage to obtain good quality video evidence.
The article points out that "faith in the fidelity of these 'enhanced' images routinely convicts defendants."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's history-of-hardware department
mcpublic writes: Tuesday marked the 45th anniversary of the 4004, Intel's first microprocessor chip, announced to the world in the November 15, 1971 issue of Electronic News . It seems that everyone (except Intel) loves to argue whether it was truly the "first microprocessor"... But what's indisputable is that the 4004 was the computer chip that started Intel's pivot from a tiny semiconductor memory company to the personal computing giant we know today. Federico Faggin, an Italian immigrant who invented the self-aligned, silicon gate MOS transistor and buried contacts technology, joined Intel in 1970. He needed both his inventions to squeeze the 4004's roughly 2,300 transistors into a single 3x4mm silicon die. He later went on to design the Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z80 with Masatoshi Shima, a Japanese engineer with a "steel trap mind," the once-unsung hero of the 4004 team [YouTube].
Long-time Slashdot reader darkharlequin also flags the " fascinating, if true" story of Wayne D. Pickette, who was hired by Intel in 1970, worked on the 4004 project, and according to ZDNet "claims that prior to that, during his job interview with Intel founder Bob Noyce, he showed the company a block diagram of a microprocessor he'd started to work on three years previously when he was 17."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unconvincing-updates department
An anonymous reader writes:
"We take misinformation seriously," Facebook's CEO announced in a late-night status update Friday. "Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information. We've been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We've made significant progress, but there is more work to be done."
But you know what's funny? The ad to the right of Zuck's post is fake news. It has the headline "Hugh Hefner Says 'Goodbye' at 90" and a quote from his wife saying "I can't believe he is actually gone," even though Hugh Hefner isn't dead. And clicking through, it's just another lame ad for erectile dysfunction -- on a site that's been tricked up to look like Fox News.
"The CEO said that Facebook is working to develop stronger fake news detection, a warning system, easier reporting and technical ways to classify misinformation," reports CNN, adding "Zuckerberg did not say how quickly the measures would be in place." They also quote Zuckerberg as saying "Some of these ideas will work well, and some will not." But apparently it's pretty easy to get fake news onto Facebook -- you just have to pay them.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wanting-warrants department
An anonymous reader quotes Mashable:
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Thursday that he wants Apple's encryption to go back to how it was in early 2014. Back then, police could basically extract any information they wanted after getting a warrant. "Doing nothing about this problem will perpetuate an untenable arms race between private industry and law enforcement," Vance said on Thursday. "Federal legislation is our only chance to lay these arms aside."
Vance said he's got 423 "lawfully-seized Apple devices" that his employees can't do anything with. Forty-two of those devices "pertain to homicide or attempted murder cases" according to the district attorney's office, and a similar number "relate to sex crimes." The argument, of course, is that the district attorney's office would have an easier time solving crimes if they had access to these phones... Apple believes being forced to hack into phones at the government's will is an unreasonable burden.
ZDNet adds that "the call for federal legislation could be given a popular boost by president elect Donald Trump, who previously called for a boycott on Apple products when it refused to help the FBI."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's dazzling-display department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple Inc. has big plans to outfit its next iPhone with vibrant, energy-sipping organic LED displays, seeking to entice consumers with new technology that's already been embraced by other high-end smartphone makers. The trouble is that the four main suppliers for such components won't have enough production capacity to make screens for all new iPhones next year, with constraints continuing into 2018, people familiar with the matter said, presenting a potential challenge for the Cupertino, California-based company. OLED screens are more difficult to produce, putting Apple at the mercy of suppliers that are still working to manufacture the displays in mass quantities, the people said. The four largest producers are Samsung Display Co., LG Display Co., Sharp Corp., and Japan Display Inc. While Samsung is on track to be the sole supplier for the new displays next year, the South Korean company may not be able to make enough due to low yield rates combined with increasing iPhone demand. The supply constraints may force Apple to use OLED in just one version of the next-generation iPhone, push back adoption of the technology or cause other snags. Apple plans to ship at least one new iPhone with an OLED screen next year, the 10th anniversary of the smartphone's debut, people with knowledge of the matter said. A pair of other new iPhone models will likely feature screens that use older LCD technology, partly because there won't be enough OLED displays to satisfy anticipated demand, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The OLED iPhone, at least, will have a new look that extends glass from the display to the device's back and edges, according to a person familiar with Apple's plans. This all-glass design will have a virtual Home button embedded in an edge-to-edge screen, rather than a physical button that can be pressed, the person added.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's smells-like-teen-spirit department
MojoKid writes: Intel is laying out its roadmap to advance artificial intelligence performance across the board. Nervana Systems, a company that Intel acquired just a few months ago, will play a pivotal role in the company's efforts to make waves in an industry dominated by GPU-based solutions. Intel's Nervana chips incorporate technology (which involves a fully-optimized software and hardware stack) that is specially tasked with reducing the amount of time required to train deep-learning models. Nervana hardware will initially be available as an add-in card that plugs into a PCIe slot, which is the quickest way for Intel to get this technology to customers. The first Nervana silicon, codenamed Lake Crest, will make its way to select Intel customers in H1 2017. Intel is also talking about Knights Mill, which is the next generation of the Xeon Phi processor family. The company claims that Knights Mill will deliver a 4x increase in deep learning performance compared to existing Xeon Phi processors and the combined solution with Nervana will offer orders of magnitude gains in deep learning performance. "We expect the Intel Nervana platform to produce breakthrough performance and dramatic reductions in the time to train complex neural networks," said Diane Bryant, Executive VP of Intel's Data Center Group. "We expect Nervana's technologies to produce a breakthrough 100-fold increase in performance in the next three years to train complex neural networks, enabling data scientists to solve their biggest AI challenges faster," added Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fingers-crossed department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Hacked: Earlier this month Hacked reported that a draft version of the much expected EmDrive paper by the NASA Eagleworks team, had been leaked. Now, the final version of the paper has been published. The NASA Eagleworks paper, titled "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum," has been published online as an open access "article in advance" in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)'s Journal of Propulsion and Power, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal. The paper will appear in the December print issue of the journal. The final version of the paper is very similar to the leaked draft. In particular, the NASA scientists confirm the promising experimental results: "Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2 +/- 0.1 mNkW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air. A number of error sources were considered and discussed." The scientists add that, though the test campaign was not focused on optimizing performance and was more an exercise in existence proof, it is still useful to put the observed thrust-to-power figure of 1.2 mN/kW in context. "[For] missions with very large delta-v requirements, having a propellant consumption rate of zero could offset the higher power requirements. The 1.2 mN/kW performance parameter is over two orders of magnitude higher than other forms of 'zero propellant' propulsion, such as light sails, laser propulsion, and photon rockets having thrust-to-power levels in the 3.33--6.67 uN/kW (or 0.0033--0.0067 mN/kW) range."
In other words, a modest thrust without having to carry fuel can be better, especially for long-distance space missions, than a higher thrust at the cost of having to carry bulky and heavy propellant reserves, and the EmDrive performs much better than the other "zero propellant" propulsion systems studied to date.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sigh-of-relief department
The mosquito-borne Zika virus that causes microcephaly and other birth defects is no longer a world health emergency, according to the World Health Organization. It is a virus that requires a long-term approach. USA Today reports: By downgrading the emergency status for Zika, the organization will now shift to a longer-term approach for fighting the virus that has spread across Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Zika was also found in parts of the Miami area. The virus "is not going away," WHO said on Twitter. "Countries need to be prepared and strengthen detection and prevention, as well as care and support for people." Nearly 30 countries have reported birth defects linked to the virus. WHO, which designated the health emergency in February, says more than 2,100 cases of nervous-system malformations have been reported in Brazil alone. The virus continues to spread geographically to areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are established, the organization noted. Most people who are infected by the virus do not get sick, but can suffer fever, rash and joint pain. The virus, however, can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's medical-breakthrough department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Inquisitr: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced this week that a "remarkable" breakthrough has been made in the study of preventing and treating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), according to a press release posted on the agency's official website. The breakthrough centers around the discovery of a powerful antibody named N6 that is highly effective in both binding to the surface of the HIV virus and neutralizing it. The former has proved elusive in the past. "Identifying broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV has been difficult because the virus rapidly changes its surface proteins to evade recognition by the immune system," the press release explains. The antibody was initially discovered in an HIV-positive person and has since proven to potentially neutralize 98 percent of HIV isolates, "including 16 of 20 strains resistant to other antibodies of the same class," according to the press release. Researchers have had previous success with other antibodies, but N6 appears to be more effective. The new discovery has potential benefits far beyond preventing and treating HIV as well. Studying exactly how N6 works could potentially lead to breakthroughs in other anti-viral antibodies. "Findings from the current study showed that N6 evolved a unique mode of binding that depends less on a variable area of the HIV envelope known as the V5 region and focuses more on conserved regions, which change relatively little among HIV strains," NIAID explains. "This allows N6 to tolerate changes in the HIV envelope, including the attachment of sugars in the V5 region, a major mechanism by which HIV develops resistance to other VRC01-class antibodies. Due to its potency, N6 may offer stronger and more durable prevention and treatment benefits, and researchers may be able to administer it subcutaneously (into the fat under the skin) rather than intravenously. In addition, its ability to neutralize nearly all HIV strains would be advantageous for both prevention and treatment strategies."Read Replies (0)